The new wave in marketing and sales, the creative outlet of millions of people, and the platform that provides billions of people information on anything that they might ever have questions on.
In 2018 many were saying that the time of the blog was over, that nobody consumes text content anymore, and that bloggers had suffered a dent in their trustworthiness due to many bloggers ignoring advertising guidelines and putting profit ahead of integrity.
But 2018 was just one year, and now we see how Instagram is pissing off their users more and more by forcing them to move on to creating video content by limiting the visibility of their grid photos.
And that’s when we remember that our blogs and websites are the only thing on the internet on which we have the full control. And so started the comeback of the blog.
But this second chapter is a bit different. Blogs are a familiar concept to all by now. Perhaps still not taken as seriously as they should be, but definitely gaining momentum when it comes to commercial opportunities for both, the bloggers and brands.
Since there are millions and millions of commercial blogs already in existence, and more being launched every single day, differentiating yourself from the crowd becomes vital.
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to blogging; everybody creates content that reflects them. That is why it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact formula with which your blog will become the ultimate success story, comparable to the ever suave Victoria of Inthefrow.
But there are some pitfalls which will slow down your journey to success despite all efforts. By avoiding these 7 deadly sins of blogging, you ensure a much better visibility for your blog throughout channels.
7 Blogging Mistakes You Are Probably Making
1. Underestimating SEO
I myself became aware of SEO about 2 years ago, but it took me a while to get into grips with it all. But adding this little enhancement to each blog post and page on my site, has been the best thing I could’ve ever done.
Google is one of the greatest channels for getting traffic to your blog, and you achieve that by adding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to the mix. It all sounds quite complex at first, but in fact is very straight forward and easy once you get going.
All you need to do is to install a plugin to your page (I vouch for Yoast SEO), which will then instruct you on what you need to do, and how well optimized or not your content is.
The most important things to remember are:
- choosing key words for your blog post (max. 5) that can be found also in your post title as well as in the text
- adding those same keywords to all pictures’ ‘alt text’ and ‘description’ boxes
- optimizing the length of your URL slug; if your title is long, only display the keywords/most relevant words in the slug. If the slug is half an A4 long, it looks very unprofessional
- adding a meta description, which is what will be shown on Google search results right under your title. Make sure your meta description is attention-catching and raises enough curiosity for people to click over to your page.
2. Publishing content that you’re not happy with
If you second guess a blog post that you just wrote, don’t publish it. Leave it and return to it in couple of hours or the next day. If you still feel like the text is not up to scratch or the photos don’t correspond with the subject, either change them or toss the post and start again.
As in many other regards, also in blogging quality should always go ahead of quantity. I know I myself have been guilty of posting content that I was not happy with at all, but it shows quite quickly a traffic dropping and lower engagement.
Consistency is key, and as long as you thrive to provide your readers with informative, entertaining and useful content, they will continue to follow your blogging journey.
It’s better to post killer posts rarely than second grade quality often. Those killer posts will keep on bringing traffic to your site for years.
3. Not planning ahead
If you create content just for the sake of creating it, it’s very unlikely that your blog will soar because the content is not current.
Also, by ignoring all seasonal trends, like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, you ensure that traffic will be instead flowing towards those sites where these subject are covered.
An easy thing to do is to sit down and write down 10-20 blog post subjects that you want to write about. Then check the calendar, but go a bit further; check 3-4 months ahead. What will be coming up in the next couple months, any big events, celebrations, travels? Add posts relating to them to the list you first created and make a little schedule.
I use as simple a tactic as the Notes app on my phone. I have a schedule for future blog posts with dates when they will be published and tick boxes that I can tick off when the post is ready and scheduled. When it goes live, I remove that item from the list.
Once a month I take a quick look at the months ahead and replace posts from my schedule, or just move them down the line, to make space for posts that are as current as possible.
4. Having an inconsistent brand across channels
That’s not enough, though; if your social media channels do not correspond with the style, colour scheme and atmosphere of your blog, it’s very likely that they will unfollow quite quickly.
If possible, the first thing you should do is to secure your blog name on all social media sites. Consistency is, once again, key. Then make sure that all your photos are edited in a similar way, and that your fonts and colours don’t clash across channels too much.
Your content should be recognizable from one look, and you can achieve that by making little changes to your branding. You can read my guide on how to brand your blog here.
5. Not promoting
Since you’ve gone to all that effort to make sure that your social channels are consistent and on brand, why won’t you use them to promote your blog?
Because you feel self-conscious, and you’re afraid that people will think of you as proud and self-absorbed? Well, to be completely honest with you, if you’ve created a killer blog post, you better be proud of it!
The Lutheran thinking of promoting and advertising yourself being embarrassing and downright wrong is so 15th century. It’s the 21st century now and the world looks a universe different.
Hyping about your own wins, whether they’re big or small, is completely acceptable and very much encouraged IF your aim is to be successful. How would anyone know about you and your wins if you don’t tell anyone?
This is a difficult subject for many women in particular, and I am planning a post on boosting our confidence when it comes to self-promotion. Stay tuned for that.
6. Not focusing on the user experience
I’m a big consumer of blogs, all kinds of blogs, travel, fashion, lifestyle, you name it. But the easiest way to make sure that I will not be returning to your blog after the first visit, is to make the user experience in any way uncomfortable or difficult.
By user experience I refer to as simple a thing as the size and colour of your font. Or the quality of your photos, or the length and width of your paragraphs. Also the loading speed of the whole site is important.
Make sure that your text is not too small or too light in colour. Then it becomes difficult to read. Also, make reading your text easier by adding spacing after every 2-3 sentences.
As much fun as adding multiple different fonts and text boxes here and there is, it can turn against you if it all becomes too much, and makes the site confusing to navigate. If the text keeps jumping from one format to another, with adverts in between lines, it can be difficult to recognize your text from an advert.
Keep things clean and simple, and add maximum one or two extra elements to each post.
7. Not providing any value to the reader
Writing a blog for yourself is a great way to enhance your creativity, learn, and try out new ideas. But if it doesn’t provide anything to those who visit your site, they will likely not return.
Some of my most popular posts are diary-style posts, so we can’t ignore their appeal. But my top 3 most popular posts are travel-related reviews and itineraries, and posts where I offer advice and personal experiences on honesty and living a positive life.
As I mentioned in the beginning, Google can be a huge traffic channel onto your blog, as can be Pinterest. And what is the user logic behind both of these applications? To provide people with answers to their questions; advice, tips, factual information, entertainment and inspiration.
If your content doesn’t answer any need, your posts will likely be lost to the vast black hole of Internet. Whereas, if your content does provide your readers with advice or inspiration, they will share that post, which again brings you even more traffic.
As a conclusion, there are no right or wrong answers to blogging, but there is one thing that separates hobby bloggers from professional bloggers;
Does your content serve anyone, any need or any want? Do you write for yourself or do you wish to provide advice, insight or entertainment to others on something that you are passionate about?
Blogging is such a wonderful creative outlet, that no matter what the reason for you doing it is, keep at it. If you’re as passionate about creating written and photographic content as I am, keep at it!